April 18, 2021

Corruption blamed for persistence in opium cultivation in Chin State

13 May 2015 — Corruption has been identified as one of the main factors allowing an increase in the poppy opium plantation in Tonzang Township, Chin State, according to the Public Radio International (PRI).

A PRI news report indicated that government officials in the area were bribed into turning a blind eye to the poppy cultivation in the northern Chin township.

Hen Thang, chairman of the Union Solidarity and Development Party in Tonzang, was quoted by PRI as saying: “The police are paid to keep away from the opium.”

“You could walk past them right here in Tonzang with a big lump of opium in your arms and nothing would happen. Last time the police went out to eradicate the poppy fields, they took bribes from the farmers for ignoring their fields,” he added.

He expressed his grave concern over the spread of drug use and opium addiction, especially among men, in the communities.

“On a recent visit to a village I saw how a woman of a household was working away, grounding maize, while her husband lay on the ground, high on opium. I got tears in my eyes. I honestly have no idea how these communities will survive like this,” he said.

Early this year, the State government said that it had carried out an eradication activity destroying more than 500 acres of poppy plantations in Tonzang alone.

However, Cin Tung Mang, a Tonzang town council member, said that the destruction had been a lot less than what they had said, adding: “…they only destroyed a few of the nearby fields that are easy to get to,” according to the PRI news report.#

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